PMP® Study Resources: PMPBOK®, PMP® Guide and PMP® Sample Exams (part 1) - The PMBOK® Guide

There is a large number of PMP® aspirants being misled about the PMBOK® Guide. The actual PMP® exam is not just about reading the PMBOK® Guide because the PMBOK® Guide published by the PMI®, as its name suggests, only covers the body of knowledge of project management. In other words, the PMBOK® is just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to project management. Moreover, as it is recommended in the PMP® Exam Content Outline (PMI, 2015):

Although many of the domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills outlined by the PMP Examination Content Outline are also covered by the PMBOK Guide, there are some that are unique to the PMP Examination Content Outline. Candidates studying for the examination will certainly want to include the current edition of the PMBOK Guide as one of their references, and would be well advised to read other current titles on project management. (p.2.)

It is stated that you cannot solely depend on the PMBOK® as your one and only source of study. About only 80% of the exam content is covered in the PMBOK® Guide, which means the remaining 20% must be found in “current titles on project management”.

The question now is that: What are “current titles”? Contradicted to the PMI-ACP Certification Exam which is included with a list of reference sources, the PMP® exam is not coming with such list. This article will recommend some PMP® reference books/study guides.

The “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” (PMBOK® Guide) is published by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. The current PMBOK® Guide is in the 6th edition. Along with each updated edition of the PMBOK® Guide, the PMP® exam content is also updated. The PMP® handbook suggests candidates use the PMBOK® Guide as one of their reference sources and around 80% of the exam content is covered in the PMP® exam. 

A survey with 100 PMPs shows that over 95% of all PMP® aspirants read the PMBOK® Guide at least once for their exam preparation. Unless you have already had a grasp of project management knowledge, it is advisable to follow through the PMBOK® Guide.

Keep in mind that once you become a PMI® member, you are allowed to download the copy of the PMBOK® Guide for FREE along with the Agile Practice Guide. However, this would be a watermarked version that prohibits you from copying and pasting the text. You should take extra consciousness not to share the file with others because it has your name on every page. PMI® has a strict regulation towards intelligence property infringement.

However, a great number of PMI® aspirants find the PMBOK® a brain-racking material. There are two options for you in this case:
-  Don’t give up on it and continue to follow it through and temporarily don’t pay attention to understanding
-  Find a PMP® Exam Prep Course or additional Study Guide (as mentioned below). Have a look at our PMP® Exam Prep Course and earn 35 PDUs.

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